News | April 9, 2009

South Carolina Developer Can’t Ignore Flood Risks.

In a major win for SELC, a federal appeals court has dealt a serious blow to plans to build a massive development project in the Congaree River floodway outside Columbia, South Carolina. The court agreed with us that a lower court erred by tossing out FEMA maps indicating dangerous flood risks in the area targeted for development.

“Now the developer will have to prove in court that FEMA’s conclusions―based on hard scientific evidence, gathered at a cost of millions of dollars―are wrong. That’s a tall order,” said SELC Senior Attorney Blan Holman.

The originally proposed Green Diamond development would require miles of levees and would turn thousands of acres of farmland and forests in the Congaree floodplain into a “city within a city,” encompassing some 5,000 home sites, a retirement community, and a technology park.

“We know from painful experience that levees can fail,” Holman added. “We look forward to defending FEMA’s determination that the Congaree floodway is no place to build a New Orleans-style development.”